Another 5.5 hours, another game...
Finishing Underworld II took a lot longer than I had initially anticipated. Much of it isn't worth recounting--I wandered around trying to find the right place to use Altara's scepter in the various other worlds, and then I sought out some mud and basalisk oil (turned out I already had three bottles of the stuff on me--great scott!) in order to, of all things, suck some kind of air daemon inside my body. This took much longer than I thought, especially because a) I kept making wrong turns in the void and falling off ledges and b) No one bothered to tell me that you have to cast Iron Skin in order for the daemon to not slaughter you when you break its container! I puzzled about that for awhile before remembering my previous gaming experience.
Far more interesting are two things. First, I got the serpent statue! The requirements to get it are nutty, but I hit upon them when I got an unusual conversation option--one of the goblins offered to teach me tracking. Odd. So I let him, then talked to him again, and he handed the serpent over! I feel good that now the beginning of the next game will make some sense :-P It's not really a blackrock serpent, it is more silvery than that and it might be facing the wrong direction (though honestly, how can these serpents face any particular direction? Can't you just turn it over?). This quest is way too convoluted though, because it requires you do something wacky--go back and randomly talk to these goblins late in the game--and that you do something totally unrelated by asking him to train you in tracking.
The second interesting thing is, of course, the sequence of battles leading to a meeting with Praecor Loth, one of the more depressing parts of the game, as depressing as the entirety of Killorn Keep. Actually, everything in the game is depressing, all those conquered worlds...Anyway, what makes Praceor so depressing is that the three liche-companions who had served him for his life are so totally self absorbed that they force the king to live as a ghost because they refuse to let go of their earthly existence. I think you can convince one of them to let you by, but not the others; in either case, I killed them all. The "Smite Undead" spell was extremely useful in that regard! When you finally meet Praecor Loth, he is totally oblivious to the fact that he's been dead 700 years, and informing him that the Guardian conquered his planet and that he is buried in his tomb is not very fun; moreover, you can pretty easily see something similar happening in Britannia.
The rest of the game zips on by. The Killorn anti-Avatar, Mors Gotha, stupidly drops her spellbook, and you grab it up; then, she invades Castle Britannia. I killed her by turning her to stone and then whacking her over and over again. Then the game ended, and somehow Lord British suddenly has a throne!
I'll probably post more thoughts about the game later, but I will do something else first...In Ultima Underworld II, you visit eight different worlds. Whenever I bump into the number eight in an Ultima, I feel compelled to associate them with the eight virtues! So perhaps each of the world could plausibly be associated with one of them...
Killorn Keep: I don't think I can associate this dismal, forgotten keep with anything but compassion, as I invariably feel sorry for the dusty old Lord Thribis, the drunken Lobar, and that senile Ogri.
Pits of Carnage: I associate this place with valor, which is sort of a no brainer since you are slaughtering everything in sight, and gaining respect through your merciless killing, and in Ultima terms, valor is all about blood.
Ethereal Void: This is something of a dreamscape in which you encounter bizarre situations, and moreover it tends to be somewhat postmodern and self referential. Thus I can't help but associate this place with spirituality.
Goblin Tower: Here you are forced into a humble position, at least at the beginning of your visit, and you have to hide who you really are, so I would obviously think of this place as representing humility.
Talorous: This one's pretty tenuous, but I think that the death of the Bliy Skup Ductosnore suggests sacrifice, except usually "sacrifice" is you sacrificing yourself, not sacrificing someone else, lol, especially not against his will! But I think some of the other Talorians engaged in risky behavior in order to change their world, too.
The rest are tough. I'd tend to put the Ice Caves in the justice category, but not for a compelling reason except that you are restoring a balance of sorts by preventing the Guardian from drawing power from the world. The Tombs I tend to associate with honor, since the three companions of the king are obviously not behaving honorably, but also I associate it with honesty, as you must force the dead king to confront reality. That leaves the Acadamy, which I can't really see as representing anything.
On a final note--In each world you collect a blackrock gem, but they seem to be rather randomly located. Sometimes, they are in the location where you use Altara's staff to break the connection with the world; but sometimes (like in the Ice Caves), they are somewhere totally random. Hmm...
Also, on a final note, there is a VERY strange area in Praecor Loth's tomb, where you can go down one hallway if you go one direction, but that hallway does not exist if you go the other direction. It's on level three, near the maze with all the portuculli. I found it very confusing and I don't know how the game engine could support such a thing...